Double Bridle Vs. Pelham - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Double Bridle Vs. Pelham

I'm joining a hunt club and they recommend riding in a Pelham, gag bit or a double bridle. I keep going back and forth.

If I use a Pelham I can use my existing bridle. But I feel like if I'm going to ridge in a leverage single bit I would rather use my ported kimberwick.

If I ride in the double bridle I have more flexibility and control over the Weymouth and bradoon I use and it would be another piece of tack to use in our arsenal to learn and become proficient at.

Not including cost/money, anyone have pros & cons or feedback one way or the other? (I would rather not make the decision on money or cost, but rather actual application.)

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 07:34 AM
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I would pick the double. If only because you can ride on the snaffle rein and keep the leverage rein loose until you need it.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 08:54 AM
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Keep in mind that a double bridle takes a horse quite a lot of time to get used to. A double means the horse has two bits in it's mouth, a lot of extra metal for it to carry around, thus some of them can really freak out. You also have to be super careful not to hit the curb rein as you can flip a horse over if you shock them with it. I'd be wary of jumping, particularly hunting, in a double in case you lose your balance or the horse takes off, and you grab the curb. If you are experienced at riding on the flat in a double this is not so much of a problem if you've got good balance and don't rely on your hands.

If the club only recommends riding in one of these bits, why can't you stick to your normal bit if it usually gives you enough control? A recommendation isn't a rule.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 01:09 PM
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I agree ^ I would ride in whatever I was comfortable with and not have to go out and buy more stuff that your horse then has to get used to. I just wouldn't waste my time or money JMO.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 01:56 PM
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I agree with Kayty. If you horse goes fine in whatever bit you're riding him in, keep him in it - unless, of course, there are issues with the legalities.

If you like some more info on the pelham, check out this post that I made a few weeks ago. It explains the main purposes, differences, and drawbacks of the english pelham versus the double bridle.

sing mε a blazing northεrn sky.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-18-2010, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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The reason they suggest a Pelham or a double is simply for emergency breaks. Due to the number of riders and the vastness of the hunt clubs property, visitors and new members are recommend to use a Pelham or DB until they're more experienced. After talking to my girlfriend apparently it's not unusual for even the most docile horse to have some control issues due to the speed and is only exasperated by the number of other riders.

Basically it's a safety recommendation until you're more experienced with the hunt.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-19-2010, 01:30 AM
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Then their horses need retraining if they bolt and run. They don't need a harsher bit!

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post #8 of 11 Old 07-19-2010, 06:52 AM
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That's interesting that the hunt club actually goes so far as to recommend them, though it's true that a horse that can actually safely hunt in a snaffle is a very, very rare thing indeed. There's an old hunting expression "Fools, ****ed fools and people who hunt in snaffles." I had a sweet, wonderful beginner school horse, a QH mare, that would hunt in a snaffle, but she'd be fussy and root at the reins and fidget at the checks. It was actually easier to hunt her in a pelham as she had complete respect for it. I never actually had to use the full effect of the pelham with her and could keep the curb rein loose the entire time, but I simply never found a snaffle she'd hunt in.

leverage single bit I would rather use my ported kimberwick.
This statement confuses me. A pelham is ridden with two reins, a snaffle and a curb. The snaffle rein connects directly to the bit and the curb connects to the bottom of the shank. It is absolutley the rider's choice if and when to engage the curb; the pelham can be ridden on the snaffle rein with just the effect of the snaffle mouthpiece. They also come in a variety of mouthpieces; you can choose one that's close to what you normally hack in. It's not uncommon to see foxhunters knot the curb rein and leave it on the horse's neck, and pick up the knot when they need emergency brakes.

A kimberwicke, on the other hand, always has some curb action as it only has one rein, and the port makes it a little harsher. While it's true you can adjust the severity of a kimberwicke by moving the rein position; you make that adjustment once, before you tack up and pretty much must ride with it for the rest of the day.

The most common reason you hear for kimberwickes over pelhams is that the rider doesn't want to cope with two reins. Since you're considering a double, clearly that isn't the issue. I strongly prefer the pelham for the flexibility.

Whatever you choose, make sure you hack out in company with that bit a few times before hunting in it.

Please also consider a poster/advice giver's knowledge or experience foxhunting when evaluating their advice; if you've never been hunting, it's hard to imagine the experience or the effect it has on an otherwise perfectly behaved horse.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-20-2010, 06:48 PM
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Kay, stupid question... What do you do when you "hunt"?
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-21-2010, 07:37 AM
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Fox hunting means going out in a group of anywhere from 6 - 50+ people. Depending on the territory and the hunting conditions, you can be out 4 - 5 hours at all gaits, galloping and jumping in company. Being in a large group and moving at speed exacerbates all the horses' herd instincts and really gets their blood up. You have to be able to control your horse in all situations. You may not tailgate or pass the horse in front of you. When you come to a single panel, gate or creekcrossing your horse must wait quietly at a safe following distance while others negotiate it, even if hounds are running and the riders in front of you gallop off as soon as they're clear of the obstacle. If a staff member is behind you and needs to through, you must be able to pull off the trail, and stand quietly with your horse's hind end off the trail while the staff member passes, sometimes at a full gallop. If you "reverse field" it's the same procedure, except that the entire field previously in front of you passes at a gallop while you hold your horse quietly with his butt off the trail.

It is not a time or place to school or train a horse. Finding you've come out with out enough bit makes for a a very unpleasant day for you and the rest of the hunt field. Not being able to stop or otherwise control your horse in the hunting field makes you a danger to yourself and others and can ruin the day's hunting for others. It may get you sent home or make you very, very unpopular.

A bit with some flexibility and options is ideal - only the function and severity of a snaffle if it's a slow day with a small field, but the ability to add extra stopping power when you need it.
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